MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Three years ago, Logan Routt was a project wrapped in a 6-foot-11 body.
At Cameron High School, he was known just as much for being the tall kid playing quarterback as he was a prep basketball star.
So, the moment was not lost on him Wednesday when he replaced Sagaba Konate and earned his first career start in West Virginia’s 92-78 victory against Rider.
“It was different. It was cool hearing your name called,” Routt said. “I treated it like any other game. It was cool to run out there for the first time, especially being from West Virginia. It was an accomplishment for me.”
An accomplishment that likely began three years ago, when Routt was being redshirted. His pregame hours before each West Virginia home game that season were spent drilling with assistant Larry Harrison, going over basic low-post fundamentals that could one day help Routt contribute to the Mountaineers.
“It’s crazy how far Logan has come,” Huggins said. “Your’re talking about a guy who didn’t really get recruited by Division II schools. He’s worked and worked. He’s a legitimate player in a Power Five. That’s coming a long way. He does what he can do. He doesn’t get out of his lane, so to speak.”
Routt’s performance came when Konate was held out with a knee injury.
In 14 minutes, Routt scored seven points and led WVU with eight rebounds. In a game where the Mountaineers dominated with 20 offensive rebounds, Routt had five of them.
“I appreciate what he does,” West Virginia guard Jordan McCabe said. “What Logan did, he was just all over the floor. He played with a lot of energy. We should all take a little bit of that.”
Through six games, Bob Huggins was watched his players struggle with health issues — the Mountaineers used their third different starting lineup Wednesday — as well as turnovers, defensive lapses and inconsistent shooting.
“They have no clue how bad they hurt the team when they play outside the team structure,” Huggins said. “We don’t have Steph Curry or Kevin Durant. We’ve got regular college guys. They try to do things that they can’t do. And then they look like fools.”
Huggins said much of the inconsistencies stem from not having everyone available for practice.
“We got a whole bunch of guys if they drove the way they played, you sure as hell wouldn’t want to be on the road, because they’re all over the map,” Huggins said.
Matthews “fun to coach”
Freshman forward Emmitt Matthews scored a season-high 11 points against the Broncs while playing 19 minutes. The four-star recruit’s attitude has made an impression on Huggins.
“He’s the kind of guy you want to coach. He listens and doesn’t try to make excuses,” he said. “He’s not trying to explain to me why his guy drove past him and scored or why he didn’t pass the ball to a teammate who was wide open.
“Some of those other dudes, it’s not a lot of fun to coach. I could sit here and lie and tell you it’s wonderful, but it’s not.”